You MUST have Catholic faith to be CATHOLIC.
I agree totally. What I disagree with is the APPLICATION of this principle.
My point on Arianism (and any other doctrinally tumultuous time in Church history, like the Protestant revolt), is that (to my knowledge) the Church has never declared 'there were mass vacancies' in the cardinal, bishop or priestly offices. Why not? Because it really doesn't matter.
My point is this: Nowhere in the history of the Church (even when there were 3 competing 'popes') has the Church said, inferred, or implied that a Catholic is BOUND in DUTY to MAKE A DETERMINATION or DECLARATION on who is or isn't pope.
Nor is any catholic BOUND to sign any declaration on who they are/aren't following in regards to their Bishop/Pope.
Nor has there EVER been any teaching or theological theory that any Catholic is IN COMMUNION WITH an erroneous/heretical bishop/pope unless they formally declare their disapproval of them.
So, why in our day and age, does such an theoretical and illogical ERROR such as 'being in communion with' so-and-so bad bishop/pope find such a following?
What does 'in communion with' even mean?
If such a formal declaration is necessary, who decides what is formal and what isn't? Who decides if such a declaration is sufficient or not? Where in canon law, church history, the roman ritual, church law, can such an answer be found? Name one theologian who taught such a thing?
Answer: There is nothing in Church history to suggest anything of the sort. The principles of sedevacantism are catholic. The purpose of them is to teach the faithful to avoid bad clergy and their errors. The problem is the APPLICATION of these principles, whereby certain groups are trying to FORCE catholics to make determinations which they are unqualified to do, and which are unnecessary.
Who is or isn't a heretic is a distraction when it's erroneously made into a 'litmus test' of catholicism; keeping the Faith is the ultimate goal and ultimate litmus test. This can be accomplished regardless of one's opinion on the pope.
I think you have a very good post here. Sedevacantists have drawn logical but unnecessary conclusions from good principles.
I do not know any sedevacantist organizations, excepting Michael Dimond, that believes in dogma qua
dogma. They all believe that dogma does not have to be taken literally. Everyone holds that the 1949 Holy Office Letter sent to Cardinal Cushing in Boston censoring Fr. Feeney is a "magisterial" document that must be accepted by every Catholic. This document overturned every dogma touching upon what is necessary as a necessity of means for salvation. These sedevacantist organizations all hold that the good-willed Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Protestant, etc., etc. can be in a state of grace and obtain salvation. So why should they worry about Francis or anyone else? All that is necessary for salvation is the 'desire to do the will of a god who rewards and punishes' which cannot even be denied to the "good-willed" modernist.
The Letter presupposed the principle that there exists a distinction (or rather, disjunction) between dogma and the words used to express it. The dogma is one thing, a divine truth, but the words that are used to define the truth are only a human approximation of that truth which necessarily must be continually revised and purged of human accretions to develop greater purity of expression. This is the modernists principle of dogmatic evolution. It was the first principle declared by Pope John XXIII at the opening bell of Vatican II as overriding theme of the Council. It was quoted by Benedict XVI as the first principle of his "hermeneutic of reform," and Msgr. Thomas Rosica recently said in an address in New York that it is the first principle of Francis' theology and that which he holds in common with every one of his conciliar predecessors. Unfortunately, excepting Michael Dimond, it is a first principle shared by all sedevacantists. Rejecting the literal meaning of dogma, they have no grounds calling anyone a heretic.
Those who reject dogma replace it with the person of the pope who becomes the rule of faith. And since no one knows what the pope believes, the rule of faith becomes whatever the pope does. This means the pope must be free of even material heresy. This is the common ground shared between most sedevacantists and conservative Catholics. The conservative believes the pope is the rule of faith concludes everything he does must be acceptable and the sedevacantist concludes that he cannot be pope. For faithful Catholics, the rule of faith is dogma.
But aside for this, sedevacantists are parked on a dead-end street. They hold that they are (or have) the only legitimate priests and bishops in the entire Church and yet, their Church does not have a pope. They agree that the Church founded by Jesus Christ was and is constituted by a supreme pastor, the pope, and yet they have none and have no plans of ever getting one. They should not discuss the question with anyone until they have their own council and elect their own pope. The very term, "sedevacantist," is really a declaration in itself of manifest error. They are sedevacantists because they cannot produce a pope which is a necessary attribute of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. There have been many who have recognized this defect and have tried to produce their own pope but the results have in every instance been ridiculous. There have more than a dozen claimants to the papacy since the 1970s but none of them have more than a handful of followers. Does anyone think that they will ever get one that would be acceptable to a plurality of them? They cannot even agree among themselves as to the legitimacy of each other's orders.
Those that are bashful about electing a pope expect that God will directly intervene miraculously filling the office, or that we are in the end-times and there will be no more popes. Either answer is painfully insufficient. If they have the authority to declare the office empty then they have the authority and obligation to fill it. Ultimately, the position is a theological conclusion of despair.
I communicated with Michael Diamond indirectly several years ago. I said to his representative that we can continue the discussion of sedevacantism when two things occur: one, he gets a pope, and secondly, when a conciliar pope engages the attribute of infallibility of the Church to bind the Catholic conscience to doctrinal and/or moral error. Neither has happened. And the fact that the conciliar popes, despite having complete control of the Church's administration, have never infallibly bound doctrinal or moral error upon the Church is prima facie
evidence that they are at least legally holding the office because God has prevented them from binding error. What is more to the point, they know it and have gone to extreme ends to give the impression of the legitimate exercise of papal authority, such as seen in Francis' recent synodial process to make his attack on sacramental marriage appear as the result of a collegial consensus.
There is no precedence for heretics losing their office by a declaration of the faithful in the old or new testament. Caiaphas was heretic who denied the resurrection of the body and only accepted the Pentateuch as divinely inspired scripture. He sat on the "chair of Moses" and the faithful were directed to obey him in the legitimate exercise of his office but that did not require the man born blind to obey him in opposition to revealed Truth.
The attribute of indefectibility and exactly how it is preserved in the Church is open to theological speculation. No matter what the conciliarists have done regarding doctrine, morals, worship or discipline, their errors have never been accepted by the universal Church. I raised eight children and none of them ever attended a Novus Ordo service. I have over 35 grandchildren and none of them have ever attended a Novus Ordo service. I know many other faithful Catholics who can say the same thing. This is the evidence of indefectibility. The true faith and worship have never been entirely absent for those willing to look for it.
Lastly, this thread is titled, "The Ordinary Infallible Magisterium and the Authentic Magisterium." The article from Si Si No No quotes Fr. Salaverri, in his Sacrae Theologiae Summa saying, "Papal Magisterium that is mere authenticum, that is, only "authentic" or "authorized" as regards the person himself, not as regards his infallibility." I believe that it was Fr. Salaverri who actually coined the term. The "authentic magisterium" or "authorized magisterium" only means that the persons acting actually is the person who holds the office. Anything a legitimate pope does is an act of the "authentic magisterium." The reason the term is very important is because it was incorporated Lumen Gentium
and from there into the 1989 Profession of Faith as the third added proposition. Those taking this profession vow unqualified obedience to the "authentic magisterium" without any qualifications whatsoever. This obedience is enforced by canon law which imposes a "just penalty." A vow of unqualified obedience can only be made to God alone.